An Open Letter to Tarek Fatah

7

Tarek Fatah2

Any person who listens to you will realize at once that you take immense pleasure in decrying, condemning and mocking at anything and everything even remotely connected or associated with Islam and Muslims. You have all the right to practice any faith or belief you wish and can create your own religion too and none will have the right to question it; yet, you have no right to disparage or belittle the faith and belief of others

SAFI H. JANNATY | Caravan Daily

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]ear Mr. Tarek Fatah,

I have watched many of your speeches, lectures, talk shows and debates which you delivered at different venues. I do not know why I listened to those lectures and allowed my blood to boil and burn. Probably, I just wanted to fathom how much poison or hatred a person could carry in one’s heart against any person, group, community or race.

Sometimes, I wonder if there are personal agendas and motives behind all those spiteful and venomous talks.  The exemplary titles and honors that you bargain out from your hosts, notwithstanding, I found most of your lectures repetitive and monotonous.  I also realized though that you have an immense ability to manoeuvre around the limited and select knowledge that you possess.

Any person who listens to you will realize at once that you take immense pleasure in decrying, condemning and mocking at anything and everything even remotely connected or associated with Islam and Muslims. You have all the right to practice any faith or belief you wish and can create your own religion too and none will have the right to question it; yet, you have no right to disparage or belittle the faith and belief of others. One more thing, please do not try to carry the mantle of representing or the task of presenting Islam to others on your head.

I do not profess to be having good knowledge of Islam, yet, I need not buy the talk on Islam from a person who champions gay rights (of course only when you are out of India as you will not find a ready audience to cheer you over promotion of the same sex marriage) and finds alcohol permissible and sneer at the existence of God. I have watched a video in which you were amusing yourself and a guest of yours over a wine shop in the close proximity of mosque in Delhi.

I do not wish to challenge you on religious issues or issues related to Islam that you raise at every forum to denounce Islam and Islamic practices as it would be a totally futile exercise. I would rather try to counter you on the same grounds you profess to advocate, namely; liberty, democracy, secularism, ethics and morality, although, I would leave you alone on Marxism and Communism as yours is neo communism being driven by the capitalist forces.

For sure, I do not expect you to answer them and if you will, I am certain, you will either try to scream on top of your voice as you deploy that means to silence others or use the art of manoeuvring in which you have got the actual Ph.D. In fact, the chief purpose of my letter is to let the people know your character and the level of your hypocrisy and pretentious character.

As I am not a politician, I will be short and simple in raising those issues which you intermittently cover and never get tired about them:

As you have the freedom, liberty and absolute right to call your children by whatever name you feel good, on what grounds, Mr. Fatah, do you infringe upon the right, freedom and liberty of others to name their children. What matters to you if someone names one’s child Shams or Suraj; Qamr or Chand or Maahtaab? What concerns you if someone names one’s son Abdullah or daughter Amatullah?

  1. As you have the freedom, liberty and absolute right to call your children by whatever name you feel good, on what grounds, Mr. Fatah, do you infringe upon the right, freedom and liberty of others to name their children. What matters to you if someone names one’s child Shams or Suraj; Qamr or Chand or Maahtaab? What concerns you if someone names one’s son Abdullah or daughter Amatullah. Let me add to your knowledge that many communities including different sects of the Hindu community name their daughters ‘Reema’ a beautiful name which is quite a common name in the Arab world. So is the case with Sameer, Sameera, Leena, Hind etc. I would not touch on your cowardice in not naming your daughter Laskhmi nor the reason as to why you did not change or let her change the name after you found a place where such issues do not attract attention. As you got irritated at the JNU when a lady asked you as to why didn’t you change your name from Tarek Fatah to Vijay or Ashok, the same way others feel offended. We teach our children not to offend or hurt the feelings of others at home and it is a part of ethics and morality and it has nothing to do with religion as all religions teach humanity.
  1. As you have the right, freedom and liberty to dress yourself in the manner you wish and even to don Western attire, others too have an equal right, freedom and liberty to wear the dresses they deem good. If a woman chooses to wear a burqa or cover her face with a ghoongat, it is her absolute right to wear and you have no right whatsoever to object or mock her nor was it a matter of joy to celebrate burqa ban in Belize. The pretext you might bring forward that the menfolk are forcing women to wear the attire does not stand any ground as the law and enforcement agencies will have to tackle that issue and not you and me. Again, mocking or making fun of someone over short pants (over the ankle) or the dress one wears is not only unethical but also a criminal offence. History is witness that there has always been assimilation of cultures and if some people get influenced from the Arabian culture in terms of dressing, why should you raise objection against it?
  1. What right do you have to mock or make fun of people who sport beard or do not shave or do not cut their hair?. It is their choice and they are free to exercise their right.
  1. As you have the right, freedom and liberty to speak or promote any language you wish, others too have an equal right to speak and propagate the language they wish. Who gave you the right to make a fun of Urdu language or assign it to one section or group of people or nation? You are also belittling the wisdom of Indians by telling them that they get influenced or impressed when someone speaks to them in good Urdu. When you belittle the language in open, what made you to attend or visit Jashn-e-Rekhta 2017 which was celebrating Urdu language. Bear in mind, a mother tongue is like mother for people and none has the right to ridicule one’s mother tongue. As you claim yourself to be a Punjabi and one could assume Punjabi to be your mother tongue, on what basis you propose to change the script of Urdu language to be Latino? Do you claim to be an Urdu language expert or a linguist too? Who stops you to speak in Punjabi while you are in India and can easily propagate your philosophy to the people in Punjab expressing yourself in your own language.
  1. It was indeed appalling to see you mocking at the furniture and the taste of Mani Shanker Aiyer who had hosted you in his house. One could argue about the work of a minister or his political inclination or motives, yet, it was extremely disgusting and shameful to see you ridiculing or mocking the taste of your host. It reflected nothing but your character and moral values you hold. Again, we teach our children how to behave when someone hosts them and the esteem in which they should hold their hosts.
  1. In line with your innate hatred towards Islam and Muslims, you targeted the group commemorating the Karbala tragedy and blocking the roads of one part of Delhi. Either you are an ignorant or a hypocrite, probably, the latter. You should know that India is a land of festival and people celebrate or observe some festivals on roads and streets. As you have made our country your home (Maan na maan, mai tera mehmaan), you must not have been blind to dozens of festivals being celebrated in the open.
  1. You leave no stone unturned in demeaning and decrying the Mughal rule, yet, at the same time, you talk about the beauty of Taj Mahal and the wisdom of Dara Shikoh. Both were part and parcel of the same Moghul empire . As you were able to wipe out the name of Aurangzeb from one street, why don’t you implore upon the government to demolish Red Fort, Qutub Minar and even the Taj Mahal as they were built by what you term them as barbaric invaders?    The whole Mughal dynasty virtually ruled India for less than 200 years (from 1526 AD to 1707 AD) whereas the British ruled India for over 250 years. Whatever wealth the Mughal kings and princes had amassed literally ended up in the country and they are non-entity now; On the other hand, the British plundered the wealth of India and turned it from an economy which was equal to 23% of the world’s economy to be a destitute with less than 4% share in the world economy when they left the place.   Why are you not as vociferous and harsh in your attack against the British and demand them to return to India at least what they hold in the physical form, ‘The Kohinoor’?
  1. Although, I have absolutely nothing to do with the invaders or empires which ruled the medieval India nor I would ever admire their rule or occupation of India, yet, the fact remains that they had invaded India to rule the place and did not have any religious intent or ambitions. A small child will also understand the fact that if the spread of religion were to be their objective, India would have become a predominantly Muslim country by the time the British strengthened their grip over India. Besides, it was a common trend for the kings, emperors and even the democratically formed governments to invade and expand their kingdoms and territories which continued right until the end of the Second World War. Neither Hitler promoted his faith, nor the Ghaznavis or Ghoris were interested in the religion.   Islam spread in the entire Malay-Java-Sumatra region not by any armed invasion, but, by the traders and Sufis. As you know, the first mosque in India was built in Kerala by the Hindu king who was ruling that part in the seventh century.
  1. Doubtless, the Partition of India was a grave mistake and hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and millions were displaced. Although, Mohammed Ali Jinnah was the prime culprit, yet, it was the British who helped or rather presented to him Pakistan on a platter. You propound the theory of Winston Churchill hurrying up for the creation of nation to protect Indians from the Red Army.  Therefore, there is no point in laying the blame on the shoulders of the Muslims in the United Province, Central Province, Bombay and Madras. The unfortunate and sad decision to divide the country notwithstanding, what is distasteful now is your relentless drive to incite and provoke Indians with your ill placed arguments that the nation is incomplete without the Indus and Brahmaputra rivers. You know, but as your wont, tend to ignore the fact that a part of Indus runs across India and our prime minister has asserted that India is not obliged to give water of Indus to Pakistan.  What you refer to as the second arm of India, Brahmaputra, also flows from India into Bangladesh. India can any time accede Bangladesh without any resistance from their military and even without much protest from the civilians there.
  1. Besides, just as the buildings of rock and mortar do not make a home, physical attributes and geographical characteristics do not make a nation. It is the people who decide to live and die together make a nation. It was your family which decided to leave Bombay and make Karachi their home.  I hope, they had a reason to migrate and the same goes with millions who migrated to the other side of the border.  When the Indians lived for seven decades after the partition without any identity crisis, why are you trying to instigate our minds now? What appalls me is your asking the people who wish to practice Islam and Shariah in their personal affairs to go to Pakistan?  Who are you to pass such a ridiculous diktat?
  1. You leave no opportunity to bring Saudi Arabia into your discussion with a view to decry and demean it, yet, you spent full 10 years in that country. As you asserted once, ‘uska namak khayaa hai’, what should one call the person who hates a country and still lives in it for a decade eating its salt.  You cannot claim that you were forced to live there due to your employment contractual obligations. You could easily have bid adieu to the country after the first contract of one year; yet, you continued to stay there to make a living or whatever other ulterior motives you had in mind.

I have no intention to offend you, but, I just wish that you understood what it means to offend or hurt the feelings of others.  You have found the Mullahs and Maulvis an easy mutton to mince before the audience selected specially to support you.  I wish you were faced with a person of right knowledge, intellect and wisdom.

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All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs and comments by readers are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan Daily

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. The question is why is Islam being discussed and not other religions. The answer can be found at the que one stand on at the airports. There is a real danger of islamic militants killing others and thereby booking a ticket for themselves to 72 virgins in heaven.

    The whole problem is that inspiration for terrorism comes from islamic literature which needs reforms – hence everyone is talking / discussing and exposing it.

    • Who would or could subscribe to the philosophy of ISIS which has nothing to do with Islam from any perspective or angle? No literature of any faith or religion promotes violence or killing innocent people. Those who are using the name of Islam for their own ulterior motives have nothing to do with Islam

      The whole objective of the questionnaire is to ask Tarek Fatah as to who gave him the right to infringe upon the freedom of others.

  2. This open letter may never be read by Tarek Fatah as he is well aware of what he is doing and makes these outlandish statements to only get attention . He is banned in Pakistan for his vicious rhetoric against the country and any Muslim country for that matter. He was born in Pakistan, lived a substantial part of his life there and then came to Saudi Arabia to spend another decade, finally leaving for Canada as many were wont to do. His constant rantings often drawing huge applause from young audiences, particularly in India drive him on. One would have loved to know what contribution he has made to society, its institutions and to the structures which preserve humanity. But the finer things are usually beyond such mentalities; all they are interested in is stoking the embers and rejoice at any little flame which erupts. And given the sad world we live in today, such upstarts have lots of opportunities to do just that. The best way to put such people down is not to give them any space in the media, print or otherwise. They will gradually die a natural death and the last news we will have of such people will probably be that they are no more. Tarek Fatah is hoping to leave behind a legacy of hatred but he is overlooking the fact that time and tide wait for no one. History is replete with gross atrocities inflicted by people who thought they ruled the world, such as Hitler and so on. Thankfully, we are all human and life runs its course to end at some point. Fatah would do well to keep this in mind. He may not be the man of the moment he thinks he is.

    • I totally agree with you and very fine view point you have presented. The Indian media is the one which gave too much importance and space to Tarek Fatah to stoke hatred in the minds of people against Muslims and Islam. Unfortunately, the so called maulvis and mullahs fell in the trap and he made good meat of them. The best way is to avoid sharing the platform where such a vicious person is present or tackling him from non religious perspectives.

  3. Not worth the trouble.He,having failed in the west to get exposure like Irshad Manji and Hirse Ali,has found India more easy and helpful in promoting himself.
    He is being sponsored by right wing organisations and Gutka TV.( Zee).
    And pity our folks who have played inro his hands by staging all kinds of protests.
    The man should be left to himself to go into oblivion.

  4. Sir
    Thank you very much for this good article addressing the issues pertaining to liberty, freedom and respect for others. I have also listened Tarek Fateh and his way of convincing people by asking questions rather that passing a diktat on others. I admire the way you have put the facts for people to judge with their minds. I also agree with your views that partition of India was a mistake and we would have been better with united India. However, I want to know whether it is right to profess a skewed view on any point, may it be religious or political of education etc.
    (1) For example you contest the views of Tarek Fatah in which he says that “India is not complete without Indus and Brahmaputra” for which you think Bangladesh can be forcefully acceded to India, is a totally incorrect thinking as India won it 1971 and handed it over to its people after the objective was achieved. Do you know why India did this?. Answer is simple, India as a peaceful country, would never take the blame of being called as an “invader”. As a practitioner Hindu, I accept many shortcomings of my religion (like Sati pratha, untouchablity, castism and widow marriage etc) with a liberty to change such points to accept some which I feel are better for our society.
    (2) Secondly, you also wanted to fathom “how much poison or hatred a person could carry in one’s heart against any person, group, community or race”. So in this regard I wonder if you have also made similar attempts to measure the activities of ISIS (Islamic state of Syriya & Iraq).
    (3) Having understood the activities of ISIS as atrocities, would it amount to be called a DIKTAT if some ask ISIS to stop their acts?
    I am waiting for your answer. Thank you

    • Thank you very much for your wonderful comments and appreciating the questionnaire in the right perspective.

      For sure, it is not a right thing to profess or propagate a skewed view on any point. I never meant that India should accede or annex Bangladesh. We need to respect the territorial integrity of nations founded or formed legally. Of course, as you said and I agree fully that partition of India was a great blunder and have written several articles expressing this view point. What I meant was to counter Tarek Fatah who keeps instigating the Indians that without the Indus and Brahmpatura, India is not complete. Of course, again, we all wished India to have remained united. However, although, rivers are important life lines, yet, their flowing in full need not be the only condition for a nation to be complete. As you know, India was a savior for the Bengalis in 1971 against the atrocities and terror unleashed by the Pakistani army and India could easily have annexed it back, but, it did not do and rightly so.

      As regards ISIS, I do not consider them to be humans. They are barbaric and worse than wild beasts. They do not have hatred element in them as they are insensitive bigots; they are just trying to gain power by means of terrorism, torture and killings. The way they kill and the way they rape women are enough to brand them inhuman and barbarians.

      It is not just the Muslim world but the entire nations should unite to decimate and eliminate them from the surface of this earth. It would not be a diktat to call for their eradication, it will be a warrant to clear the world from ugly souls.

      Hope, you will find my replies in order.

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